Defining Boundaries as a Mum
I’ve been thinking about my boundaries lately. This isn’t something I’ve given much thought to if I’m honest. I have been ‘Mum’ for almost 13yrs now and with that comes a lot of blurred lines! There was more Mum than Stephanie for many years. It is only recently that I began to realize that these blurred lines exist, and that they can be damaging. Defining my boundaries has been the starting point for my entire Personal Growth journey.
It’s the old ‘Self-Care isn’t Selfish’ scenario. We lose sight of our own well-being because we are too busy being the perfect Mum. Waking up to the reality that we aren’t doing ourselves any favours is the turning point. You start to set up your boundaries because you understand that they are friends, not foes.
I am More than Mum
Let’s start with this one because it’s a biggy and the one that can absolutely destroy our boundaries. We become a source of food, comfort, direction and climbing equipment! Luckily for me my jungle gym days are over but I still get a rather large 9yr old on my lap most days. Don’t get me wrong, I take this as a blessing, but finding time to remember who you were before you became a Mum becomes more and more challenging.
Make a point of reminding your family what you love and what makes you ‘you’. Blast your favourite songs and dance like a loon, singing at the top of your lungs while you’re at it. Retreat to your room to read a book instead of sitting through another replay of Toy Story. Insist on a trip to the Art Gallery, no matter how damn boring they think it is! It doesn’t matter what it is, if it’s something that is important to you then its important full stop. Make sure they understand that. If they see you as a person with their own likes and dislikes they are more able to develop an understanding (and respect) for you. Believe it or not, sometimes just being Mum can send your kids the wrong signals. Make sure they know you are a person before a Mum.
My ‘Me Time’ is Non-Negotiable
Being there for your kids is so natural for you as a Mum that it becomes a habit to be there for them, and before you realize it, you forget about your own needs. Setting boundaries for your me time applies to your kids, your husband and anyone else who’s taking too much of your energy. I was going to say ‘asking to much of you’ but it’s actually more likely to be ‘who you are saying yes to too easily’. You have to learn to say no when you have too much on your plate, and you have to learn to hand things over when you need to re-fuel.
Mum’s tend to think it’s all on them! We want to be everything to everybody. While this comes from a good place it also becomes a trap we have set for ourselves. We teach everyone in our lives that we take care of things…… and they don’t have to! So, learn to read the signs so that you ask for help before it’s too late! Get hubby, in-laws, friends – heck, get the neighbours, just find someone to step in and give you some much needed time to yourself.
Making Time for what Lights me Up
Before you had kids there was a whole world of things you loved to do. Yes, you love your new life, but you should not have to give up on what you loved before your kids came along. Being a parent is so time consuming, plus the fact that your heart has swollen to capacity with love for these adorable little beings! It’s easy to understand how we let our attention shift to their needs. After all, they are so small and fragile when they are born! They need us! And, we love this so much! Everyone wants to be needed, it gives us a sense of purpose. So, we become caught up in the love bubble of being a new parent. This is wonderful, but somewhere along the way you lose sight of what made you feel alive before that feeling of being loved and needed came along.
Why isn’t it enough? This is probably the guilty question that comes into your mind and this is where we are going wrong! You are a whole being with your own desires. Being a Mum is a beautiful part of who you are, but it is still a part, not the whole you. Make the time to start up an old hobby like drawing or photography. When you see how alive it makes you feel you will understand that to be a well-rounded person (and Mum!) you need to stay connected to that part of you too.
Kids will take the whole arm!
Defining boundaries with kids covers pretty much any topic you can think of. Because they are like extensions of you they feel they can be in your space ALL THE TIME! You know what I’m talking about. Showers, bedtime, getting dressed, on the toilet – there are no boundaries and no limits to what they are okay with! But, you shouldn’t be okay with it, and you need to set boundaries or the stress will start setting in.
Shower time is sacred for me, no disturbance or there will be hell to pay! The same goes for my early morning and bedtime reading. I have set very clear boundaries around these activities for myself because I rely on these things to keep a healthy mindset. This includes time for meditation. Heaven forbid that anyone should disturb me when I am meditating! Lol! It will have quite the opposite effect. The good news is my family knows this now. My boundaries are set. Now that we all understand each other we can live in harmony and we can all live life as our true selves, less ‘people pleasing’ required.
Boundaries Show Respect
Defining boundaries is stamping your authority, yes, but it is also setting a respectful example. It is teaching your children to respect others. Knowing that setting foot into your bedroom after 9pm is a no-go may seem mean on the surface but on a deeper level it teaches your children to respect your space and your time.
Boundaries are good for everyone involved. The kids learn valuable life lessons, and you learn that holding on to your sense of self is valuable too.
Drop the Guilt
Let’s be clear on one thing, there should be absolutely no guilt about defining personal boundaries. What you are doing by setting boundaries is teaching your loved ones to respect you. You are setting an example for them, and you are reminding yourself that you matter. Will they kick and scream the next time you lock the door to the bathroom so that they can’t watch you on the toilet? Probably. But, when the dust settles the message will be clear. You matter. And, you are not ‘just Mum’.
I hope you enjoyed the blog! Please let me know your thoughts in the comments!
If you enjoyed this check out Manage Your Emotions in 5 Easy Ways
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